Improved Forage Production in Ethiopia: Utilization, Challenges and Prospects for Adoption: A Review

Muluye Fekade


There are several factors that hinder the productivity of livestock in Ethiopia of which nutrition contributes the largest share. The quality and quantity of feed are poor challenging livestock production. Nowadays, due to the rapid increase of human population and increasing demand for food, grazing lands are steadily declining by being shifted to arable lands for crop production. As a result, food crop residues are providing a considerable quantity of dry season feed in most farming areas of the country. However, the feeding value of crop residues is very poor. One way to alleviate this problem is supplementation of crop residue through the use of improved forage and fodder trees. Research and development agents have been testing and identifying promising forages that are suitable for pasture rehabilitation in a wide range of agro-ecological zones besides animal feeding. The use of forage legumes have a paramount role resulted in increasing soil nitrogen available for food crops because of their ability to fix nitrogen. Moreover, multipurpose browse trees and shrubs serve as fuel wood resource. Improved forage legumes and browse species provides protein which enhances the feed resources available for livestock. The major impediments of improved forages production in different parts of the country are ecological deterioration, overgrazing, land tenure, border conflict, drought, weed and bush encroachment, lack of seed and planting materials. The diverse topography coupled with environmental heterogeneity offers favorable environments for pasture species, herbaceous legumes and browse trees/shrubs. Hence, assessing the conditions, challenges, opportunities and recommendations of improved forage production is very imperative for effective and efficient utilization of these feed resources to boost the productivity of the livestock sector in the country.

Keywords: improved forages, nutrition, crop residues, challenges, utilization

DOI: 10.7176/JBAH/9-21-02

Publication date: November 30th 2019

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